The pet trust is a little-known legal option for the elderly and caregivers worried about what will happen to beloved animals following the deaths of their owners.
The four-legged members of a household (or two-legged, or conceivable even eight, as the case may be) are undoubtedly special members in any home. Accordingly, proper planning ought to address them as well.
Whatever the size of your pet and whatever the size of your family, it’s simply not always enough to leave these matters for your heirs to figure out. After all, the well-being of your animal (i.e., your friend and companion) is at stake and so it’s worth considering legal devices to provide for them, such as a pet trust.
In a way, the idea of a “pet trust” is a natural one and yet it’s also not always common. Deborah Jacobs recently tackled the subject over at Forbes and her article certainly is worth a look. In its basic formula, a pet trust is like any other trust in its formation, however, it is designed to take care of the member of the family that can’t take care of itself (nor speak to which home it will move to upon its owner’s passing).
While that can be meaningful for many pet-owners, there also is reason for the elderly to pay special attention to the prospect, as another article over at the New Old Age Blog points out, here. For the elderly, especially, a pet can be an incredibly important family member and one for whom planning can be all the more important. Why? The pet may outlive its owner. In the end, a pet trust may afford important protection and care for the pet, as well as peace of mind to the owner.
Reference: Forbes (February 14, 2012) “If You Love Your Dog (Or Cat Or Gerbil), Read This” and The New York Times – The New Old Age Blog (February 3,2012) “The Pet Problem”